August 16-20, 2009

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Why Unskilled Workers Do Not Need the Minimum Wage:
G. Stolyarov II
August 16, 2009
Mr. Stolyarov was recently asked whether one justification for the minimum wage might be a lack of genuine bargaining power among unskilled workers, as compared to high-skilled workers. The argument implicit in the question was that a specific unskilled worker can give his employer no reason to retain him in particular, and so the employer can afford to push down the unskilled worker’s wage to a ridiculously low amount. At the same time, the unskilled worker cannot find any opportunities to work elsewhere. Mr. Stolyarov does not think that such suppositions are realistic, however.

Why on Earth Can't I Sell You My Kidney?:
Bradley Doucet
August 16, 2009
It is illegal to buy and sell human organs in the United States, as it is in most countries around the world. As a direct result of this, there are not enough organs to go around. If a legal, free market would quickly whittle away the long waiting lists and provide better protection for kidney donors—which it would—what, exactly, is the problem? The reason it remains illegal to buy and sell kidneys despite the strong practical arguments against prohibition is that many people feel it is just wrong, morally, to profit from the misery of others. Bradley Doucet refutes this common presumption that prevents the legalization of a beneficial practice.

The Free Market as Regulator:
Ron Paul
August 18, 2009
Since the bailouts last fall, many lawmakers have been behaving as quasi-owners of the bailed-out banks and businesses, leading to calls for increased regulation of executive compensation and other wasteful expenditures. We have heard much about bonuses and executive pay packages that sound more like lottery winnings than an honest salary. Rep. Ron Paul writes, however, that these lawmakers overlook the fact that the free market is the most powerful and competent regulator of inefficient, wasteful, and counterproductive behavior possible.

Cash for Clunkers:
Ron Paul
August 18, 2009

The Cash for Clunkers program has received a lot of attention last week on Capitol Hill and across the country. The program offers a voucher of up to $4500 in federal funds to anyone who trades in a working used car for a new one with better fuel economy.  Congress was shocked at how quickly people responded to promises of free money and drained the program, while car dealers have been equally shocked at how slow and arduous the government’s website to claim the rebates has been. Cash for Clunkers is a popular program right now, but Rep. Ron Paul believes that in the larger scheme of things, the program does very little towards accomplishing its stated goals. 

Kudlow's Cuckoo for Clunkers:
Robert P. Murphy
August 19, 2009
Robert P. Murphy focuses on a recent blog post in which Republican economist Larry Kudlow came out in favor of extending the "cash-for-clunkers" program. Dr. Robert Murphy argues that Kudlow's arguments are pure Keynesian nonsense. He also regrets that many of today's ostensibly radical, "free-market" economists basically look at the economy in the same way as Paul Krugman.

Krugman on Bad Actors:
Robert P. Murphy
August 19, 2009
In a recent New York Times column, Paul Krugman lamented our society's lavish rewards for bad actors. No, he wasn't criticizing the original cast of Star Trek. Rather, Krugman was bemoaning the hefty earnings that accrue to financial executives. Unfortunately, writes Dr. Robert Murphy, Krugman's critique is riddled with irrelevant paper citations and internal contradictions.

Evasion and Error: The Open Objectivist View:
William R. Thomas
August 20, 2009
Evasion is the choice not to think. It is the failure to focus one’s mind. William R. Thomas presents the Open Objectivist perspective that, since to focus or not is the basic choice we make, evasion is at root unrelated to judgments of all sorts, even erroneous judgments. Judgments, after all, involve conscious consideration. And that requires choosing to think about the issue in the first place.

The Middle East Maze:
Alan Caruba
August 17, 2009
Referring to a 1990 report in The Economist, the editors recently said, “To revisit the Arab world two decades later is to find that in many ways history continues to pass the Arabs by. Freedom? The Arabs are ruled now, as they were then, by a cartel of authoritarian regimes practiced in the arts of oppression.” Alan Caruba tries to make some sense of the Middle East and numerous phenomena of concern in that part of the world.

Freedom is a Crack:
Walter Donway
August 17, 2009
We are told that today's system of medical care in the United States lets too many people "fall through the cracks." Walter Donway writes that the phrase is one of many cliches that substitute for thought, or argument, in the debate over what, for short, is called "Obamacare," although that scheme is just another step in the long process of turning medical and hospital care in America into a completely nationalized industry.

Africa's Real Climate Crisis:
Fiona Kobusingye
August 20, 2009
Al Gore
and the United Nations insist that global warming is the greatest threat facing Africa. Just how ridiculous that claim is can be gauged by the basic facts presented in this article by Ugandan health, prosperity, and human rights activist Fiona Kobusingye.
The average African life span is lower than it was in the United States and Europe 100 years ago. Millions of Africans are dying every year from diseases that were eradicated in rich countries long ago. Being poor and not having electricity means millions die from lung infections, because they have to cook and heat with open fires; from intestinal diseases caused by spoiled food and unsafe drinking water; from malaria, TB, cholera, measles, and other diseases that could be prevented or treated if Africans had proper medical facilities. Ms. Kobusingye is not about to let her future be dictated by people who would never want to live the way she has most of her life.

"The strictest law sometimes becomes the severest injustice." 
~ Benjamin Franklin